A Criminal Court judge sentenced a 39-year-old Chattanooga man to 12 years in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to a drunken- driving vehicular homicide that killed a 4-month-old girl.
Family for both defendant Bryant Houston and the victim, Addison Moore, testified as lawyers for both sides laid out arguments for either increasing or reducing Houston's sentence before Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman.
Steelman sentenced Houston to the maximum of the eight- to 12-year range allowed by state law, citing his criminal history and numerous probation violations on unrelated charges.
Chattanooga police traffic investigator Joe Warren testified that Houston was driving a minimum of 103 miles per hour northbound on U.S. Highway 153 in a 1997 Lincoln Continental when he struck the 1995 Ford Mustang driven by Katherine Spalding that was turning into a parking lot.
Houston testified he drank three 22-ounce Bud Ice beers before driving to his girlfriend's residence before midnight on May 27, 2010. His blood alcohol after the crash was shown to be 0.19, twice the legal limit in Tennessee.
Michael Moore was in the passenger seat of the car Spalding was driving; in the back childseat was Addison Moore.
The infant girl had to be resuscitated at the scene and was declared brain dead two days later and taken off life support. Her mother, Spalding, had her right arm crushed and pelvis broken in the crash.
Her father, Michael Moore, broke his neck in multiple places, his leg and pelvis in five places. Both required more than a year of physical rehabilitation and will suffer lifelong complications.
Spalding testified that losing her child was the hardest thing she had to go through and she "would never wish this on any single person."
Moore did not have anything to say to Houston but wrote in remarks to the court that, "One day I had a family of my own -- In a second, my family was gone forever. She was only four months old some family members had not even gotten to meet her yet."
Contact staff writer Todd South at email@example.com or 423-757-6347.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...